Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Holiday Ornaments

Every year I am faced with the same holiday conundrum: What do you buy for the people that already have everything? Especially on my meager law student budget. For the solution I turn to my wonderful Grandma.

My Grandma has 6 kids, 15 grandkids, and 15 great-grandkids. She gave up trying to buy gifts for all of us long ago. Instead, she makes something from the heart: scrapbooks, cookies, packages of lefse... Sometimes she even regifts something from the past like when she gave my cousin his two favorite children's books for his wedding, or when she gave my aunt the puppets she loved as a child. Whatever the gift, everyone always ends up in tears of gratitude for her thoughtfulness.

This year I'll do something similar by making knitted Christmas tree ornaments. What could be better than a hand-made personalized ornament you can use year after year? OK, maybe a Nintendo Wii would be better, but these ornaments will probably stick around a lot longer and maybe have a little more meaning down the road.

Here's the first batch:


Terms:
kfb: knit into the front and back of stitch
ssk: slip two stitches together knitwise, then pass both back onto the left-hand needle and knit them together through the back.
k2tog: Knit two stitches together.

Poinsettia:

Materials:
Patons Classic Wool, bright red
US size 6 double-pointed needles

Need supplies?

Patons Classic Merino Wool Yarn - 100% Wool



Clover Bamboo Double Point Knitting Needles 7''



Pattern:
Cast on 6 stitches - 2 on each dpn

Center:

Row 1: kfb every stitch (12)
Row 2: kfb, k1 6 times (18)
Row 3: kfb, k2 6 times (24)
Row 4: kfb, k3 6 times (30)
Row 5: kfb, k4 6 times (36)
Row 6: kfb, k5 6 times (42)
Row 7: kfb, k6 6 times (48)

Petals:

Row 1: k8, stop and turn work over so you are working at the WS
Row 2: purl back on the 8 stitches you just knitted, turn.
Row 3: ssk, k4, k2tog, turn
Row 4: purl, turn
Row 5: ssk, k2, k2tog, turn
Row 6: purl, turn
Row 7: ssk, k2tog, turn
Row 8: purl
Row 9: k2tog


Break yarn and fasten off. Reattach yarn at the next group of 8 stitches and work the same way as the last petal. Repeat until all the petals are done.

Finishing:

Weave in all ends. Now comes the fun part - Felting!
Place your poinsettia inside a pillowcase to keep the fuzz off of it and wash on the hot/cold cycle with some towels or other laundry for abrasion. My poinsettia only partially felted after one cycle, but I liked the look so I left it like that.
Next comes blocking. The petals like to curl up, but this is easily remedied by placing a heavy object on it while it dries. I used my Constitutional Law book - take that John Marshall!
Simply attach a loop of yarn on one of the points for a hanger, or use icord if you want something a little fancier. Metal ornament hangers or hook earrings will also work (you can find these at most craft stores - especially the hook earrings).


Starish thingy:


Materials:
Patons Classic Wool, bright red and winter white
US size 6 double-pointed needles

Pattern:

This one is easier than the poinsettia. It starts out the same way, but just keep going with the increases in every row.

Using red, cast on 6 stitches, 2 on each needle.

Row 1: kfb every stitch (12)
Row 2: kfb, k1 6 times (18)
Row 3: kfb, k2 6 times (24)
Row 4: kfb, k3 6 times (30)
Row 5: kfb, k4 6 times (36)
Row 6: kfb, k5 6 times (42)
Row 7: kfb, k6 6 times (48)
Row 8: kfb, k7 6 times (54)
Row 9: Switch to white yarn, kfb, k8 6 times (60)
Row 10: Switch to red yarn, kfb, k9 6 times (66)
Row 11: Switch to white yarn, kfb, k10 6 times (72)
Row 12: Switch to red yarn, kfb, k11 6 times (78)
Row 13: Switch to white yarn, kfb, k12 6 times (84)
Row 14: kfb, k13 6 times (90)

Bind off.

Finishing:

Weave in ends and felt and block just like the poinsettia.

If you want to personalize the ornament embroider the name of the beneficiary in the center using contrasting yarn.

This ornament would also make a fantastic holiday coaster.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Triangle Purse

As much as I love big voluminous purses that hold every item I could possibly need, they just aren't convenient sometimes. For those occasions when you're going to a concert or out for a few drinks during happy hour, a small purse with a long strap to hang off your shoulder is ideal.

This felted triangle purse is a unique stylish accessory that's just large enough to hold all the essentials for a night on the town.

Materials:
Lion Brand Landscapes Autumn Trails
Size 13 needles

Terms:
kfb - knit into he front and back of the stitch
k2tog - knit two stitches together
Icord - knit two stitches. Slip both stitches onto the left hand needle and knit them again. Repeat.

Pattern:

Purse:

Cast on 20 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2 and all wrong side rows: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 5: K1, kfb, K1, kfb, K12, kfb, K1, kfb, K1 (24)
Row 7: Knit
Row 9: K1, kfb, K1, kfb, K16, kfb, K1, kfb, K1 (28)
Row 11: Knit
Row 13: K1, kfb, K1, kfb, K20, kfb, K1, kfb, K1 (32)
Row 15: Knit
Row 17: K1, kfb, K1, kfb, K24, kfb, K1, kfb, K1 (36)
Row 19: Knit
Row 21: K1, kfb, K1, kfb, K28, kfb, K1, kfb, K1 (40)
Rows 22-28: Work in Stockinette.
Row 29: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K28, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (36)
Row 31: Knit
Row 33: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K24, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (32)
Row 35: Knit
Row 37: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K20, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (28)
Row 39: Knit
Row 41: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K16, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (24)
Row 43: Knit
Row 45: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K12, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (20)
Row 47: Knit
Row 49: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K8, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (16)
Row 51: Knit
Row 53: K1, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K4, k2tog, K1, k2tog, K1 (12)
Row 55: Knit
Row 57: (K1, k2tog) 4 times (8)
Row 59: k2tog 4 times (4)
Row 61: k2tog twice (2)

Break yarn and draw the tail through the last two remaining stitches.

Fold the fabric over and sew up the sides.

Strap:

Pick up 2 stitches at one side of the purse at the opening.



Work in 2 stitch Icord for about 5 feet (remember it will shrink considerable after felting). Attach to the other side by picking up one stitch at the opening of the purse and knitting it together with a stitch on your needle. Do the same with the other stitch. Break yarn and draw the tail through the two remaining stitches. Use the remaining tails on both sides to reinforce the strap by stitching it to the body of the purse.



Felting:

Place your purse inside a pillowcase and close the end with a rubber band or just knot it. Wash for the full cycle with some towels or other laundry for agitation. Remember to use the hot/cold cycle (the first time I tried felting I didn't realize that the temperature change was critical to the process and washed my project in cold water. I was very disappointed when it hadn't felted one bit after washing it three times).

Now you can sew on a button and make a clasp by sewing a loop of yarn to the flap.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blizzard Scarf

It's November, yet there is no snow on the ground, the temperature hovers around 55 degrees, and there hasn't even been a hard freeze! Needless to say, I'm not accustomed to this Pacific Northwest weather. Even though I'll probably never need it, what better way to feel at home than knit a super-gigantic warm winter scarf. Perhaps I'll send it to one of my chilly friends back home in North Dakota.



This scarf is made extra-wide and then folded over and sewn up to make a double layer of fabric for extra coziness. Plus, this way the pattern shows on both sides.

Materials:
2 skeins white Bernat Berella

I think this scarf would look absolutely lovely in a beautiful mohair or soft alpaca yarn, but, alas, I just can't tolerate wool. I only use it when I find a fabulous pattern or yarn that makes the itchiness and little red bumps worthwhile.

On the bright side, my grandma gave me 60 skeins of off-white Bernat Berella (thanks grandma!), so I'll use that instead.

U.S. size 13 needles

Gauge:
About 2.5 stitches per inch.

Terms:
yo - yarn over
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together

Pattern:
Cast on 39 stitches.
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
repeat 3 more times
Row 9: k1, (yo, k2tog) 19 times
Row 10: knit

Repeat until your scarf is gigantic.

A close-up of the pattern pre-finishing.


Finishing:

Leave and extra long tail of yarn when you bind off. Fold the scarf over and use the tail to seam up the sides.

Add four tassels on each end. You know how to make tassels right? If you don't, here's an explanation.

Memories of Summer Scarf

The flowers are disappearing. The leaves are falling from the trees. The deep green hills of the Pacific Northwest are turning yellow, red, and orange. All these changes make me miss the green foliage and beautiful flowers. A leafy, flowery scarf is the perfect functional reminder of summertime.



Materials:
I used olive green, forest green, and rosy pink acrylic yarn.
U.S. size 8 needles.

Gauge is not too important here.

Terms:
yo - yarn over
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together
k3tog - knit 3 stitches together
ssk - slip 2 stitches one at a time onto the right needle, slip both stitches back on the left needle and knit them together.

Base scarf:

Using the olive green yarn, cast on 15 stitches.
Row 1: K1, (yo, k2tog) 7 times
Row 2: Purl

Repeat until the scarf is as long as you want it.



Leaves:

Use the forest green yarn.
Leave the cast on end and the fastened off end long so you can use them to sew the leaves to the base scarf.

Small leaf
Cast on 3 stitches
Row 1 and every wrong side row, purl
Row 2: k1, yo, k1, yo, k1
Row 4: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
Row 6: knit
Row 8: ssk, k3, k2tog
Row 10: ssk, k1, k2tog
Row 12: k3tog

Medium leaf
Cast on 3 stitches
Row 1 and every wrong side row, purl
Row 2: k1, yo, k1, yo, k1
Row 4: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
Row 6: k3, yo, k1, yo, k3
Row 8: knit
Row 10: ssk, k5, k2tog
Row 12: ssk, k3, k2tog
Row 14: ssk, k1, k2tog
Row 16: k3tog

Large and extra large leaves
You get the idea right? Just add another row of yarn overs and decreases to make bigger leaves.

Flowers:
Using the pink yarn, cast on 15 stitches.
Rows 1: knit
Row 2: purl
repeat once
Row 5: knit into the front and back of each stitch
Row 6: purl
repeat once

Bind off loosely and leave the ends long.

The fabric should have a natural curl. Simply wind it up until it is in the shape you want. Use your end to sew it into place. Leave the rest of the end loose to sew the flower to your scarf.

I made 20 leaves (5 small, 9 medium, 3 large, and 3 extra large) and 4 flowers.

Finishing:

Sew all your leaves and flowers onto the scarf. I sewed the leaves in clusters around the flowers and left a few scattered around the rest of the scarf.

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